5 December 2022

The world of work and human resources after the pandemic – Interview with Francesca Morichini, Global Chief Hr Officer at Amplifon

Connect’s journey into the global community of Luiss graduates continues, providing a valuable observatory for analyzing and understanding the changes in an increasingly complex and rapidly evolving world. This edition features the experience of Francesca Morichini, who graduated in Political Science in 2000 and is currently Global Chief HR Officer of Amplifon, a global corporate with 18,600 employees and collaborators across 25 countries on 5 continents.
Francesca joined Amplifon in October 2017 after a prestigious career in human resources in which she held managerial roles in leading international companies such as L’Oréal, Bialetti, and Whirlpool.

The pandemic completely disrupted the world of work and human resource management. What are the major changes that will accompany us in the coming years?
The impact of an epochal phenomenon, like the pandemic, is made up of structural and temporary elements which must be distinguished in the first place. Structural elements include the emergence of new soft skills that have gained increased value compared to that of the past, flexibility, the ability to manage complexities and learn different skills quickly, highlighting the global dimension of the company, but above all, increased priority awareness of balancing work and personal life. This latter element particularly affects younger generations.
At a time when remote work forced people to move away, it became evident that having a strong corporate culture and identity, founded on tangible values, was crucial to maintain internal cohesion and ensuring performance even in such challenging circumstances.
Another phenomenon that is now structural is the influence of technology, which can be an accelerator of so many changes. However, change must be managed with great care to ensure that we lead the change to avoid making radical transformations just because technology allows us to do so but without evaluating the consequences. The pandemic has been a remarkable accelerator of change; remote work being the most significant change. In this transition phase, it is essential that we strike a balance between the two poles. COVID showed us that we can work in different ways with flexibility. However, we must not forget the importance of relationships and human contact, particularly to explain the consequences of remote working to the community. Many companies backed off after big announcements about full-time remote working because they did not understand that now more than ever, it is critical to find a compromise.

There are many conversations around “quiet quitting” What is the critical success factor for an international company in the area of human resource management to avoid such phenomena?
In my opinion, a crucial element is a corporate culture and a strong sense of belonging to a community, combined with the understanding that jobs include a component of passion that allows employee to express their personal dimension to the fullest. This generates the “attachment to the shirt” that makes any company a true team in which everyone rows in the same direction. The company must be able to identify generational trends by approaching them proactively and not just reacting to stimuli. In order to feel motivated, employees must understand change to play an active part in it. Internal communication and continuous learning can significantly help in this regard. A company with modern human resource management is able to build differentiated development paths to encourage people to stay, by avoiding routine and offering employees different experiences. Another element to pay attention to is intergenerational relationships that can be enhanced through reverse mentoring, where young generations learn the positive experiences and practices of the past, and senior employees pass on the company’s values and legacy. The human relationship helps diverse generations to understand the positives of different viewpoints.

What aspects do young recruits pay the most attention to when engaging with a company like Amplifon?
I notice that there is a great desire to learn, experiment, and acquire new skills. In the past, the priority was career prospects. Whereas today young recruits look for the affinity between personal and corporate culture, a flexible working environment, the balance between work and personal life as well as the social impact of the company and its ability to generate positive spillovers to the surrounding world and community. Youth seek a content-rich challenge and the chance to leave a mark on the world around them by learning new concepts and being exposed to new stimuli. Likewise, the end customer expects an increasingly personalized experience. They do not want to be a number but would like the company to understand their distinguishing traits, and personal needs, and enable them to work in an efficient and effective way. The surveys we applied to the world of Amplifon confirm these factors.

You are a mother and a top manager in a large international company. What advice would you give to women who wish to strike the balance between having a family life and a brilliant career?
I have never seen my profiles as a woman and mother as a career limitation. That is my first piece of advice. Start from the assumption that you can do it and that the fact that you are a woman does not mean that you have to work differently to fit in. Certainly, one should not ask too many questions or pretend to be a man. In fact, both sexes have their own peculiarities and distinctive characteristics. I have worked in different environments and have always tried to adopt the same approach by adjusting myself to my personal life for example taking into account the international dimension that has always characterized me. There is definitely a component of sacrifice that would still be there and must be considered. I organized my time carefully considering the different stages of a child’s development, and I have always been very mindful of organizing activities in my free time that also involves my son. In short, I strongly believe that want is power.

What qualities and lessons learned during your years at Luiss did you take with you and have helped you throughout your career?
In my opinion, universities must offer a method, forma mentis, or an approach to what is work and academia or learning content. There is no single skill that goes unchanged for fifty years in the modern world. Firstly, Universities must teach their students how to learn. This is the first thing that Luiss taught me together with teaching soft skills and developing an interest in understanding phenomena from different perspectives. Leadership skills, being proactive, the ability to interact with others, organization, setting priorities and having a plan to strive for an outcome are all fundamental skills in today’s working world; to which Luiss pays great attention.


Interwied by Emidio Piccione.